How to open a PDF in Word

You were asked to change the content of a PDF file and this threw you into a panic for a moment: you have never done anything like this and you do not know which programs to rely on to perform this task. You immediately thought about Word, but in reality you do not know if the famous Microsoft word processing software supports documents of this type and you are looking for confirmation on this.

If that’s the case, know that the answer is affirmative: although not always perfect, Microsoft Word is able to open and edit PDF files. But not only that: there are several external solutions that allow you to take files in PDF format and turn them into Word documents (often better than Word itself can do) in just a few clicks. If you want to know more and want to find out in detail how to open a PDF in Word, read on.

In this guide, in fact, I will show you how to use Word for processing PDFs (both incoming and outgoing) and I will recommend solutions that will allow you to transform your PDFs into Word files in just a few clicks. Courage: make yourself comfortable, read the directions carefully and you will see that you will learn quickly. I wish you good luck for everything!


  • Preliminary information
  • How to open a PDF file with Word
  • How to open a PDF in Word for free
    • Doxillion Document Converter (Windows / macOS)
    • PDFElement (Windows / macOS)
    • iLovePDF

Preliminary information

Before explaining how to open a PDF in Word, let me make some clarifications: in principle, both Word and the external services that I will report to you during the tutorial allow you to convert PDF files without problems (if you exclude some formatting errors and there, often negligible); in some cases, however, you may not get the desired result.

What exactly am I talking about? Some PDFs may not have been scanned correctly, ie after scanning they were saved not as a text document but as an image. In this case, in order to modify the text present in the aforementioned files you will first have to use OCR ( Optical Character Recognition ) software that is able to recognize the text in the images and thus allow it to be extrapolated, saved as editable text and then modified.

I’ll tell you right away, even if you may have already taken it into account: the result provided by OCR software is not always 100% guaranteed, in the sense that you may find yourself faced with unknown characters, incomprehensible parts of text and so on. Don’t think, though, that it was all wasted time: imagine if you didn’t have such programs available and you had to do everything yourself. Which ones do I recommend? I’ll describe some of them in this guide that will surely come in handy.

How to open a PDF file with Word

To start, I would like to explain to you how to open a PDF file with Word, that is, how the Office package program works with documents of this type and what are the results you can get.

Microsoft Word 2013 and later versions allow you to open PDF files directly and edit them; therefore, if you have the right program and version available, it will take you very little time. How you do it? I’ll explain it to you right away.

To illustrate the procedures in this guide, I will use Microsoft Word 2013 but know that the procedure, which is really simple, is almost the same even with the following versions.

To start, right-click on the PDF file you are interested in editing and, in the menu that opens, click on the item Open with; among the various programs that appear, choose Word and that’s it. As you can see, Word itself will remind you, in a message preceding the conversion operation, that, especially as regards graphics and tables, the new document will not be identical to the original one.

In case a warning of this type appears (and it will happen, if you have not done similar operations before), click on the OK button and wait some time: as you can imagine, the process takes time, especially if the PDF is medium or large.

Once the import is complete, you will be able to work on the document as if it were any file created with Word. If you are also a beginner with Word and you need a hand to learn the main features of the software, read my tutorial on how to use Word.

How do you say? Are you wondering if, after editing, it is possible to re-export the file in PDF format? Of course yes, and the procedure is just as easy. Click on the File menu on the top left, then on the Export item and, in the screen you see on the right, on the Create PDF / XPS icon. Finished! I told you it would be child’s play, right?

You don’t have Microsoft Word but you absolutely need to edit a PDF? That’s not a problem! You can do it very well with LibreOffice, a free, open-source and cross-platform productivity suite, available for WindowsmacOS and Linux, which I told you about in detail in this guide; In this in-depth study, I will explain how to use Draw, the suite software needed to edit PDFs, in more detail.

How to open a PDF in Word for free

Now let’s see, instead, how to open a PDF in Word for free with online programs and services capable of transforming PDFs into DOCX / DOC files. There are several to choose from: below you will point out some of the most interesting.

Doxillion Document Converter (Windows / macOS)

The first solution that I recommend you to consider is Doxillion Document Converter, a program that allows you to convert documents to and from various file formats, including of course PDF and Word files.

The software features are fully unlockable by paying only (€ 16.97 for unlimited non-commercial use and € 19.99 for commercial use). The free version for non-commercial purposes, however, allows you to transform PDF files into Word without any problems. Another important thing to point out is that the application is available for both Windows and macOS, so if you were looking for how to open a PDF file in Word on Mac, you’ve found it.

That said, if you want to download the program on your PC, connect to its official website and click on Download Doxillion PDF and document converter for Windows that you find at the top of the home page. When the download is complete, double-click on the .exe file you just downloaded and, in the window that opens, check the I accept the license conditions box and click on the Next button. The installation will start and the program setup will be completed.

To download Doxillion Document Converter on Mac, instead, connected to the official website and click on Download for Mac at the bottom. Once the download is complete, open the downloaded .dmg file, press the Agree button and, on the next screen, drag the program icon to the Applications folder on your computer. When you first start the software, you will have to answer Open to the message that will appear on the screen.

How to do now to proceed with the conversion of PDF files to Word? Nothing difficult: drag your PDF file to the screen where it is written Drag files or folder here. At this point, the document in question will be added to a list; positioned with the cursor on the latter and, at the bottom of the screen, you will find the Output Format item and a drop-down menu to its right: select the .doc or .docx option.

Then click on the Convert button, on the right, and the conversion will start. Your file will be ready in a few seconds, depending on the size. You can choose the output folder by clicking on the Browse button at the bottom.

PDFElement (Windows / macOS)

PDFElement is a program available for both Windows and macOS that allows you to create, edit and convert PDF documents in a very simple way: you will find it really useful if you often work with this type of file.

The software has a free version which is fine for what you want to do, although there are limitations to be aware of: first, a watermark is applied to every PDF document created or edited; secondly, if you don’t register for the service, you can convert a maximum of two pages for each PDF.

Registering is very simple: download the program and, when it starts, click the Register button, then the Create account link and, on the next screen, enter the email address and password you want to register with; finally, click on the Register button. Remember that, even after registration, you will not be able to remove the watermark if you have not purchased a license first.

There are two licenses that can be purchased: the Standard, which costs € 69.00 and does not include the OCR function (which, as I explained to you, could be essential for some documents), and the Professional which has a price of € 79.00 and boasts numerous features in addition to the OCR function, from support for PDF / A formats to digital signature.

You can download the Windows and macOS versions of the program by connecting to the official website and clicking, respectively, on the Download for Windows and Download for Mac OS buttons. At the end of the download, if you use Windows, open the .exe file obtained and, in the window that opens, select the Italian language and press OK, then check the I accept the terms of the license agreement box and click the Next button; click twice on the Next button, then on the Finish button and the setup will be completed.

If you are using macOS, open the .dmg package you downloaded and drag the program icon to your computer’s Applications folder. Then click on it with the right mouse button and in the next two screens click on the Open button: by doing so you will open the program and at the same time bypass Apple’s limitations on applications from non-certified developers.

Now you just have to use PDFElement to convert the PDF (you can do it even without having created an account). How you do it? Very easy: on the initial screen of the program, click on the Convert PDF item you see on the right, then on the Continue button. At this point, select the file you want to convert and, on the next screen, choose the format ( .doc.docx etc.) and where you want to save it; finally, click on the Save button. The conversion will begin and your file will be ready.


How? Would you like to open a PDF in Word online, without downloading new programs to your PC? This can also be done. There are, in fact, online services that allow you to convert and edit PDF files directly from the browser.

Among the best solutions of this type, I recommend iLovePDF which allows you to perform various operations on PDFs, including converting to Word files. To access the function in question, visit this page. Once this is done, drag the PDF to be converted into the browser window (max 15MB in weight) and click on the CONVERT TO WORD button. At the end of the procedure, the output document will be automatically downloaded to your PC; if not, click on the DOWNLOAD WORD button.

To perform an unlimited number of operations, you must register for the service by clicking on the Register button at the top right: you can use either your Google account or your Facebook account, otherwise you can upload an account simply using your email address.

Registration allows you to have numerous features available, even if, in this case, it does not allow access to the OCR functionality, for which you must subscribe to a paid plan, starting from 6 euros/month.


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